New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

Yes, it’s true: The New York Rangers still do play hockey in the NHL, and they’ll prove that very fact as they host the Capitals tonight.

New York Rangers (7-2-2, 16 pts)
Washington Capitals (8-2-0, 16 pts)
Today, 7:00 PM on TVA, MSG, CSMA
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

By Robby Sabo

The New York Rangers will play a hockey game tonight. Yeah, that’s right. The team who’s only played two games in the last 10 days will actually lace up the skates.

They’ll welcome in Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. A team who represented one tough out during the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs a year ago.

And how do you like this? Both teams are tied with 16 points atop of the Metropolitan Division coming into the game. The Caps are leading the division having played one less game than the Blueshirts. They’re truly off to one of their best starts in franchise history. Should they win tonight, they’ll have won nine of their first 11 games to open a season for the second time in team history.

During one stretch they motored through five straight wins by outscoring opponents 24-10. Then, however, they could only muster four goals over the weekend against Columbus and Florida. Still, they picked up four points, via Stats LLC:

“I think what you learn is that the NHL is pretty good,” coach Barry Trotz said. “You’re not going to score five and six goals every night… Most nights it’s going to be 2-1, 3-2, 4-3. It’s going to be close. We needed a couple close games.”

As far as lineups are concerned for Alain Vigneault’s squad, not much has changed in the last two weeks. This is the case, aside from one notable change:

Via NY Rangers Blog
Via NY Rangers Blog

Rookie Dylan McIlrath will take the spot of the struggling Dan Boyle and play alongside Kieth Yandle.

Derrick Brassard will continue to center the top line after he and Rick Nash assisted each and every time on Matz Zuccarello’s three goals during last week’s 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby will be the goalie matchup.

First puck drop comes your way at 7:00 PM ET and can be seen on MSG Network.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]